Vasava

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Vasava (वासव) was a God of Mahabharata period. Vasava of Mahabharata was probably same as Vasabha of Mahavansa. According to Mahavansa[1] Vasabha (66-110 AD) was a King of Sri Lanka with capital at Anuradhapura.

Jat Gotras

Baswan gotra Jats are said to be the descendants of the God Vasava (वासव)[2] or Vasabha (66-110 AD) King of Mahavansa.

History

Vasabha is considered to be the pioneer of the construction of large-scale irrigation works and underground waterways in Sri Lanka to support paddy cultivation. 11 reservoirs and 12 canals were constructed during his reign. He also constructed several Buddhist temples in addition to renovating already existing ones. Vasabha started a new dynasty in the history of Sri Lankan monarchs, having seized the throne after killing Subharaja, the then ruler of Anuradhapura.

With the introduction of Buddhism, the city of Anuradhapura gained more prominence and the great building era began. The Mahavansa states that King Kutakannatissa built the first city wall to a height of seven cubits with a moat in front of the wall. This fortification was further enlarged by raising the wall a further 11 cubits to 18 cubits by King Vasabha. King Vasabha constructed many ponds which were fed by a network of subterranean channels which were constructed to supply water to the city.

The ancient chronicle Mahavamsa states that he constructed eleven reservoirs and twelve canals to distribute water from them. His most notable construction is the Alahara canal, which originally had a length of about 30 miles (48 km). It was created by damming the Amban river, and was used to divert water in a westerly direction for agricultural use. The reservoirs at Mahavilachchiya and Nochchipotana, which have both been identified as constructions of Vasabha, have a circumference of about 2 miles. Due to such constructions, Vasabha pioneered the construction of large irrigation works in the country.[3]

Having been told by a soothsayer that he would live only for twelve more years, Vasabha became a devout Buddhist and performed many meritorious acts in an effort to prolong his life. He constructed several Buddhist temples, and renovated others. Among his constructions are the vatadage at Thuparama and some additions to the Mahavihara.[4]

Inscriptions belonging to the reign of King Vasabha such as the Vallipuram Copper Plate in the Jaffna peninsula in the north,[5] Situlpawwa and Tissamaharama in the south, Batticaloa District of the east and Kurunegala District of the west all prove that King Vasaba's power had spread through the island.

Vasabha, born to a family of a clan named Lambakanna, spent his childhood in a village in the North of the country working for his uncle who was a general in the king's army. The ruler of the country at this time was Subharaja, who was informed by soothsayers that one named Vasabha would defeat him and become king. To avoid this, Subharaja ordered everyone in the country bearing that name to be killed. Vasabha's uncle tried to take him to the king under the pretext of taking him to join the king's service. However, he was saved by Pottha, the wife of his uncle, who told him about the king's decision. He went into hiding followed this, and gathered an army in secret.[6]

Having eventually raised an army, Vasabha led a rebellion against the king, and subsequently seized the throne in 67 AD after killing Subharaja and his uncle. He ruled for 44 years, until his death in 111 AD.[7] His accession to the throne marked the beginning of a new dynasty of rulers, known as the First Lambakanna Dynasty after the name of his clan.[8]


Harshagiri Inscription of 961 AD in Sikar district mentions god Vasava in Line -20:

Line-20:This was the fortunate Vigraha-raja, resembling Vasava, [or Indra], when he had performed his adoration [on this same mountain, to the same deity]; by this young prince were the wealth of the race, and the prosperity of victory, both rescued from destruction.
श्रीमान् विग्रह राजो भूत-सुतो वासवोपम:
वंशलक्ष्मी जय श्रीश्च येन ते विधुरोद्धृते ॥ २०

In Mahavansa

Mahavansa/Chapter 23 tells....In the district called Giri, in the village of Kutumbiyahgana there dwelt, held in honour (by the people) there, a householder named Vasabha. His fellow-countrymen Vela and Sumana, governor of Giri, came when a son was born to their friend, bringing gifts, and both gave their name to the boy. When he was grown up the governor of Giri had him to dwell in his house. He had a Sindhu-horse that would let no man mount him. The king Gamini made Velusumana dwell near him, giving him honourable guerdon and favouring him greatly.


Mahavansa/Chapter 35 tells ....One sprung of the Lambakanna (clan), named Vasabha, whose home was in the northern province, served under his uncle, a commander of troops. .....After Vasabha's death his son Vankanasika Tissa reigned three years in Anuradhapura. On the bank of the Gonariver the king Vankanasikatissaka built the vihära called Mahamangala. But his consort Mahamatta collected money to build a vihãra, bethinking her of the thera's words.

In Mahabharata

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 48 mentions Kings who brought tributes to Yudhishthira: It mentions with Chitraratha the Gandharva.

राजा चित्ररदॊ नाम गन्धर्वॊ वासवानुगः
शतानि चत्वार्य अथथथ धयानां वातरंहसाम (Mahabharata II.48.22)

Shalya Parva, Mahabharata/Book IX Chapter 44 mentions about Vasava, the epithet of Indra, on the ceremony for investing Kartikeya with the status of generalissimo.

The gods then, with Vasava at their head, and the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, the Munis, and the Pitris, all shouted, for the Victory to Skanda. (Mahabharata IX.44.26)
जयशब्थं ततश चक्रुर थेवाः सर्वे सवासवाः
गन्धर्वयक्षा रक्षांसि मुनयः पितरस तदा (Mahabharata: IX.44.26)

Vasava, that slayer of hostile heroes, gave unto Agni's son two companions, Utkrosa and Panchaka, who were armed respectively with thunder-bolt and club. These had in battle slain innumerable enemies of Shakra. (Mahabharata IX.44.32)

उत्क्रॊशं पङ्कजं चैव वज्रथण्डधराव उभौ
थथाव अनल पुत्राय वासवः परवीरहा
वसवॊ मधुवर्णश च कलशॊदर एव च
धमन्तॊ मन्मदकरः (Mann+Takhar) सूचीवक्त्रश च वीर्यवान (Mahabharata IX.44.67)

References

  1. Mahavansa/List of Sovereigns
  2. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya etc.: Ādhunik Jat Itihas, Agra 1998 p. 269
  3. Siriweera, W. I. (2004). History of Sri Lanka. Dayawansa Jayakodi & Company. p. 169. ISBN 955-551-257-4.
  4. Wijesooriya, S. (2006). A Concise Sinhala Mahavamsa. Participatory Development Forum. p. 81. ISBN 955-9140-31-0.
  5. http://mahavamsa.org/mahavamsa/simplified-version/kings-of-sri-lanka-62-ad-131-ad/
  6. Wijesooriya, S. (2006). A Concise Sinhala Mahavamsa. Participatory Development Forum. p. 81. ISBN 955-9140-31-0.
  7. Wijesooriya, S. (2006). A Concise Sinhala Mahavamsa. Participatory Development Forum. p. 81. ISBN 955-9140-31-0.
  8. Nicholas, C. W.; Paranavitana, S. (1961). A Concise History of Ceylon. Colombo University Press. p. 77.

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